The Geotechnical Society of Edmonton is pleased to present Dr. Dennis Becker, WSP

Date: January 25, 2024
Time: 5:30 – 9:00pm
Location: Woodvale Facility, 4540 – 50 Street NW, Edmonton
Cost: GSE/CGS Members $30, Students $15, Non-members $40

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Registration @ 5:30 PM; Dinner @ 6:00 PM; Presentation @ 7:00PM with networking to follow.


Successful risk-informed design that leads to safe civil engineering and mining structures depends on many factors, including the interactions and teamwork of varied technical disciplines, team expertise and experience, and good engineering judgement. Geotechnical engineering (particularly Soil Mechanics) is one of the key technical disciplines.

The presentation outlines and explores the essential relationships between geology and geotechnical engineering; understanding and accepting that uncertainty and risk always exist; the role of testing in geotechnical design; a ‘refresher’ on applying fundamental principles of Soil Mechanics; and challenges for obtaining meaningful results from field and laboratory vane shear tests in tailings. The presentation also discusses design and risk management using traditional factor of safety approach, Reliability Based Design, and Performance Based Design, including requirements, merits, and limitations. The important linkage to the Observational Approach is highlighted.

All these aspects, drawn from projects of the presenter and case records, contribute to risk-informed geotechnical design, and are viewed as being relevant and useful to practitioners.


Dennis Becker, Ph.D., FEIC, FCAE, P.Eng., is a Fellow, Senior Geotechnical Engineer in WSP with over 45 years of national and international experience on numerous large-scale resource development and civil engineering projects. Dennis has substantial experience with all aspects of geotechnical engineering and has many areas of expertise. He has extensive project experience with bridges, tunnels, embankments, landfills, water retention dams, tailings dams, failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA), risk assessment, and decommissioning, closure, and abandonment of tailings dams. Dennis is a member of several independent Geotechnical Review Boards for tailings dams in Canada, United States and Finland.

Dennis is active in many key engineering and professional societies. He was the Editor of the Canadian Geotechnical Journal, President of the Canadian Geotechnical Society, Vice-President (North America) of the International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering and involved in the ASCE Geo-Institute’s initiative to produce Guidance Document on Risk-Informed Decisions in Geotechnical Engineering. Dennis also served on technical committees of the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), National Building Code of Canada, Canadian Highway Bridge Design Code and CSA Offshore Code (Foundations), extensively involved with the development of Limit States Design and Reliability Based Design for foundations. He was Co-Editor of the 4th Edition (2006) of the Canadian Foundation Engineering Manual.

Dennis has received several senior awards from the Canadian Geotechnical Society, Engineering Institute of Canada, and Canadian Society of Civil Engineers. He is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering and Engineering Institute of Canada.


his event has been generously sponsored by WSP Canada.